Taekwondo (TKD) and karate are martial sports which require athletes to reproduce
whole-body complex skills in reduced time-frames during competition. It is important to
determine whether differences exist between training 'maximum' (normal) and
competition 'maximum' (100%) modes of execution of a movement combination, to
ensure training executions adequately and specifically reflect those in competition.
Three-dimensional analyses of five athletes from each sport were conducted.
Kinematic differences between execution modes were measured and the kinetic causes for
these differences were investigated and related to the motor control involved in these
martial arts combinations. The analysis used a fourteen-segment representation of the
martial athlete, incorporating both functional and predictive joint centres and subject
specific inertia data, and was designed to best represent the explosive movements observed
in both sports.
The study showed that athletes lowered the execution times of their combinations in
100% mode, but did so using different strategies. If contact velocities of a technique
increased this was achieved by increasing the peak velocity alone, if it decreased this was
due to a lower peak velocity and a different deceleration pattern. The striking limb showed
few angle differences at target contact between execution modes. More angle differences
were observed for central segments which appeared to be related to controlling the
effective mass of a technique and the athletes attempting to reduce the transfer time
between techniques of the combination in 100% mode. The striking limbs demonstrated
low variability in joint moments, while more moment variability was observed for other
in the central segments. Joint moments were more variable in 100%
mode even though their trends and joint angle regularity were maintained. This variability
in moments may be required to keep the movement on track. TKD athletes did not
optimise their kicks for maximal impact when kicking the training target pads. Karate
athletes controlled energy transfer to the target when attacking the head through controlling
effective mass and the moment sequencing of the striking limb, rather than velocity.
Practical implications of the study were: TKD athletes should include combination
training on heavy targets; combinations can be improved by focussing on the initial and
transfer phases; and strengthening central and support segments may reduce chronic injury.
Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.